‘It’s against all principles of scientific reporting’: Thousands of medical papers cite Wikipedia, study says

Tom Blackwell, Creative Commons, Mar 18, 2014
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This alarmist "the world is ending" headline is typical of the National Post, but the sentiment against citing Wikipedia is far more widespread. So what's the issue? "There is no guarantee the information at any given time is, in fact, wholly accurate, and a Wikipedia entry cited by a journal paper one day may be quite different soon after, unlike a conventional article or book." This of course misrepresents how a wiki operates. References to Wikipedia cite specific dates and times viewed, and this version never changes - when someone makes a change, a completely new version of the page is created, and the old one stored as an archive. So we can indeed see exactly what was cited. Moreover, it is less likely to be wrong than a printed publication, whether it be this misleading national Post article or the uninformed academic article that was used as its source.

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